How Many Accidents Are Caused by Drunk Driving?
Approximately one-third of all traffic accidents involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Each day, 29 people die in drunk driving crashes. It is estimated that over 1 million drivers are arrested for DUI each year. Almost all drunk driving crashes are preventable.
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It is illegal to drive while intoxicated in all 50 states. This includes aggressive driving, speeding, texting, and not wearing seat belts. Taking a breath test can help to determine whether or not you are under the influence of alcohol. If you are found to be under the influence, you can face a fine of up to $150,000, or up to 4.5 years in prison. If you are involved in a fatal crash while under the influence of alcohol, you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, a Class 6 felony.
In the United States, nearly 2,000 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2017. The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities has been on a downward trend over the past few decades. In 2017, the rate of alcohol-impaired fatalities per 100,000 population decreased by nearly 50% from 1991 to 2017 and reached its lowest point since the federal government began tracking the data in 1989.
The highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 were light truck and passenger car drivers. Men were more likely to be in a drunk driving incident than women. The rate of alcohol impairment among fatal 2020 crashes was 3.1 times higher at night than in the daylight. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers under the age of 21 was lower than that of the overall population.
In addition to the economic impact of these crashes, the cost of drunk driving to society is estimated at $44 billion a year. Each day, 800 people are injured in alcohol-related crashes. Considering the number of fatalities and injuries, it is easy to see why alcohol-related driving is an issue that is too important to ignore.
In one recent year, there were 1,069 fatalities due to drunk driving in California. That is 2.7 fatalities for every 100,000 Californians. The District of Columbia had the lowest rate at 0.77 fatalities per 100,000. In 2019, the average drunk driver had driven at least 80 times before their first arrest. In a decade, the national rate of total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities declined by 65 percent from 9.1 to 3.2. The rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities for drivers under the age of 21 declined by 84 percent from 6.9 to 1.1.
In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that there were 10,511 alcohol-related deaths in the United States. These statistics are based on data from over 34,000 fatal crashes. The NHTSA has compiled a map of the country that can be used to view current rankings and statistics. The interactive map shows the drunk driving fatality rate for each state.
In addition to the economic cost of these crashes, the cost of cleaning up these accidents is significant. A driver’s insurance rates will increase as a result of drunk driving.